Project Description

BRIEF: To design and build an offgrid luxury two-bedroom cottage (103.5m2) in a flood-prone rural water-side setting.

CHALLENGES: Off services grid. (No mains water, no grid electricity, no mains gas, no common effluent, no waste refuse collection service.) Australian Standard (S3959) BAL12.5 fire rating zone. Strongly sodic heavy clay soils, planning controls for 1:100 flood zone, N3 wind zone rating.

SOLUTIONS: Ultra low-energy, sustainable materials, low fire risk focus. Computer aided design techniques allowed us to predetermine prevailing evening winds so we could utilise louver orientations to maximise natural summer breezes. Using a combination of waffle pod and polished concrete (slab) with local aggregate for floor construction, including in wet areas, we created a low-cost, low maintenance foundation. With timber framing, we finished the cottage with rendered Hebel exterior cladding to bring significant energy savings. We worked with the owner to create a solar generator (3.0kW thin film PV) coupled to a 130m renewable energy micro grid and 32kW of gel battery storage. By carefully developing veranda shade coverage, optimised for summer solstice, we have been able to create an environment that uses almost entirely natural cooling and heating techniques. Additional winter heating and summer cooling is available through full (solar-powered) reverse cycle air conditioning.

MATERIALS: Timber frame, Hebel clad and Gyprock walls. Woodland grey Colorbond roof, custom matt black aluminium windows and hardened bush-fire zone window glass, hardwood deck, veranda and deck posts.

FEATURES:

  • Contemporary polished concrete floors, including local exposed local aggregate, including walk-in shower
  • Free-standing bath, custom floor filler and luxury tapware
  • Incorporating floor-standing SMEG gas cooker and hot water
  • 5700mm custom sliding floor to ceiling door set (to deck) and separate French doors
  • Walk-round wardrobes, doubling as luxury bedheads
  • Cupboard laundry to save space
  • Stand alone solar powered 3.0kW, with battery storage (diesel backup)
  • Design energy efficiency 8.7 stars, exceeds Building Code of Australia standard of 6 stars
  • Full 6.0kW reverse cycle air conditioning
  • Timber fence and custom matt black posts

PROJECT VALUE: ~$300k

OWNER COMMENT: “I have done a number of residential developments now and Pete’s attention to detail is second to none. He is fastidious in his planning and execution and uses only quality trades. The result is clear. A stunning, modern and contemporary cottage, with a low-environmental footprint and impact. It blends neatly with the natural environment. The luxury interior finishes would put many London homes in the shadows. It would be right at home in Mayfair or Kensington.” David